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Gunma Special Attack Corps Monument
Takasaki City, Gunma Prefecture

This figure of a kamikaze pilot commemorates the 173 men from Gunma Prefecture who died during World War II in special (suicide) attacks carried out in planes, shinyo explosive motorboats, midget submarines, and kaiten manned torpedoes. The erection of the Special Attack Corps Monument at Gunma Prefecture Gokoku Jinja was coordinated by the Tokkotai Commemoration Peace Memorial Association and the Association to Pass On the Japanese Spirit (Nihonjin no kokoro o tsutaeru kai) and was supported by the Gunma Prefecture Special Attack Pilot Statue Erection Committee.

The monument has a bronze figure of the front half of a kamikaze pilot standing on a stone pedestal, and a plaque to the right of the figure has the following inscription:

At one time during the Showa Era, Japan fought the Greater East Asia War with the United States, Britain, and China. It was for our safety and to free Asia from colonial domination by Europe and America. Japan dominated as the fighting proceeded and brought under control the area to the South Pacific and Indian Ocean, but supplies of materials ran short, and our country yielded to enemy counterattacks from the Philippines to Okinawa.

At that time a desperate battle tactic unprecedented in history was adopted. This was taiatari (body-crashing) into a ship with a plane or boat. It was no more than the difficult choice of a proud but poor people. Our countrymen humbly put together their hands in prayer and bid farewell to these young men about twenty years old who took off to death.

We place here that brave figure. Today's people who were brought up in a defeated country and were cut off from history, we hope that you will continue asking this statue what you will decide to defend in exchange for your lives.

The back of the plaque has listed the names of the 173 men from Gunma Prefecture who died in special attacks along with their hometowns and whether they served in the Army or Navy. Gunma Prefecture's capital of Maebashi was the hometown of 23 Special Attack Corps members who died, and 21 men came from Takasaki, Gunma's largest city and the location of the Gunma Prefecture Gokoku Jinja.

The monument was erected in March 2009, and 160 persons, including bereaved family members, attended the unveiling ceremony.

Prefectures in Japan generally have a gokoku jinja, which is a Shinto shrine dedicated to persons from that prefecture who died to protect the country. Each gokoku jinja has several monuments to remember those who died in wars.

The plaque on front of the pedestal of the Special Attack Corps Monument reads "Aa tokkō" (Ah, Special Attacks) and "we certainly will never forget you." Similar monuments have been erected at other shrines throughout Japan such as Tochigi Gokoku Jinja, Saitama Gokoku Jinja, and Ehime Gokoku Jinja.


Gunma Prefecture Gokoku Jinja